History of All Saints West Dulwich

All Saints’ rose from the ashes—literally. The church was gutted by a fire in June 2000. With only the towering Victorian walls left standing, the ruined building was open to the sky.

But the congregation decided that All Saints should be restored. The church opened again at Easter 2006, its walls and pillars deliberately left showing the scars of the flames.

All Saints’ was started in Croxted Road in 1877 to serve a Dulwich population which was increasing as the railways expanded. It was a “tin tabernacle”, a corrugated-iron building of a type much favoured by Victorians for temporary churches and chapels and could hold 700 people.

George Fellowes Prynne, who was to go on to design Colombo Cathedral in Sri Lanka, was engaged as architect for a new All Saints. In October 1888 the foundation stone was laid for the present building, which stands at the junction of Rosendale and Lovelace Roads.

In the Second World War, the crypt at All Saints’ was used as an air-raid shelter. Most services were also held there in the Blitz, for safety and because the crypt’s windows could be easily blacked out.

The crypt was used again for services after the fire of 2000. At first it was sodden from thousands of gallons of water pumped by firemen on to the flames, so services were held at nearby Rosendale School.